The Latest: Eddie’s England open with 35-3 win in Japan
TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Day 3 of the Rugby World Cup in Japan (all times local):
England was relatively comfortable in beating Tonga 35-3 at the Rugby World Cup without the former champion being compelling in the opening game of its 2019 campaign.
Samoa-born center Manu Tuilagi scored two tries in the first half to put England clear and Tonga didn’t come close to an upset in the Pool C game at Sapporo Dome.
The tries showed the range of Tuilagi’s talents. He bashed his way through a pack of Tongan defenders for his first. Then he skipped clear out wide for his second after England created an overlap on the left and wing Jonny May fed him an inside ball.
But England didn’t secure the four-try bonus point until three minutes from the end through replacement hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie.
England, the 2003 World Cup winner, made 13 handling errors and generally played within itself, maybe with an eye on bigger battles when it has to play Argentina and France in consecutive games at the end of the pool stage.
Manu Tuilagi has scored two tries in seven minutes and England is in control with an 18-3 lead over Tonga at halftime in their Rugby World Cup Pool C game.
Tuilagi threw off Tongan defenders and muscled his way over after a five-meter scrum and a move down the short side in the 24th minute. He was put clear for his second try with an inside ball from wing Jonny May after England created an overlap on the left.
Tuilagi’s first score was confirmed by the Television Match Official just a minute after England had a try ruled out by the TMO because Sam Underhill hadn’t grounded the ball. Tuilagi’s midfield break also started the move for Underhill to go over, and the Samoa-born center is clearly England’s best player of the game so far.
England had a third try ruled out by another TMO decision and there were four TMO referrals in total in the first half, with the other to check the legality of a crunching tackle by Tonga flanker Sione Kalamafoni on Anthony Watson. The TMO ruled it was fine.
Tonga held the former champion 3-3 for the first quarter after Owen Farrell and Sonatane Takulua traded early penalties at the Sapporo Dome but England was in complete control after that.
England has opened its Rugby World Cup campaign against Tonga and coach Eddie Jones was given a huge cheer by the local Japanese fans when his name appeared on the big screen at the Sapporo Dome before kickoff.
Jones was coach of Japan at the last World Cup, when he masterminded what’s considered the biggest upset in the tournament’s history. Japan beat two-time champion South Africa 34-32 in the group stage in England four years ago.
Jones’ England squad is one of the contenders for the title this year and is expected to be too good for Tonga in a tough Pool C which also contains France, Argentina and the United States.
England is the only country other than the three southern hemisphere nations of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia to have won a Rugby World Cup. England won the title in Australia in 2003, edging an Australian team coached by Jones with a dropped goal in extra-time in the final.
Ireland bullied Scotland again to the tune of 27-3 in the Rugby World Cup and looked set to avoid defending champion New Zealand in the quarterfinals.
Ranked No. 1 until Monday, Ireland played like a serious World Cup title contender by dominating every category against its regular doormat, Scotland. In the last 20 Six Nations head-to-heads, Ireland has beaten Scotland 16 times.
The Irish pack ran the show in the first half with tries to tight five forwards James Ryan, Tadhg Furlong and 37-year-old captain and hooker Rory Best. Rain arrived as forecast just before the interval and it stopped by the time Ireland earned the bonus-point fourth try to winger Andrew Conway inside an hour.
On this performance, Ireland should go on to top Pool A. The Irish have group games to go against Japan, Russia, and Samoa.
Australia winger Reece Hodge has been cited for a dangerous tackle on Fiji flanker Peceli Yato in their Rugby World Cup game.
Hodge’s shoulder made contact with Yato’s head and neck area while making the try-saving tackle on the Fijian in the first half of Australia’s 39-21 win at the Sapporo Dome on Saturday.
Yato left the field with concussion and could be ruled out of Fiji’s next game against Uruguay on Wednesday. Until the tackle, Yato was among the best players on the field and had the Australians under constant pressure.
World Rugby says Hodge will attend a disciplinary hearing in Tokyo. He is facing a possible ban.
Fiji players complained about the tackle at the time of the incident and asked referee Ben O’Keefe to refer it to the Television Match Official. Neither O’Keefe nor the TMO took any action during the game.
Ireland was bossing Scotland up front to lead 19-3 at halftime in the Pool A game, just when rain arrived in Yokohama.
All three tries came from the tight five. Lock James Ryan, 37-year-old captain and hooker Rory Best, and prop Tadhg Furlong scored from a ruck, lineout, and scrum respectively.
The Irish were dominating almost every category, and had missed only two tackles.
Scotland’s only points came from a Greig Laidlaw penalty after Tommy Seymour was unleashed on the right touch line. It was the only attack which paid. The Scots had committed five turnovers in the Irish half.
Sergio Parisse started his fifth Rugby World Cup by guiding Italy to a 47-22 win over Namibia on Sunday, and going oh-so-close to celebrating the milestone with a try.
The veteran backrower was denied a five-pointer when his forward pack was awarded a penalty try, when he lost the ball in a tackle, and when he was called back by the referee after diving over from the base of a five-yard scrum. And from the very next movement, he picked up from the base of a scrum and crashed into the referee Nic Berry — the Australian official who may claim he deserves to be credited with a tackle on the statistics sheets.
Italy conceded a try in the sixth minute to scrumhalf Damian Stevens against the run of play and wasted three scoring chances but recovered to post three tries before halftime for a 21-7 lead at the break.
The bonus point was secured four minutes after halftime when winger Edoardo Padovani ran onto an angled grubber kick to the left corner and the result was beyond doubt in the 47th when replacement Carlo Canna reached over to score and converted to make it 35-7.
Starting flyhalf Tommaso Allan finished 11 points from a try and three conversions for Italy before he was replaced early in the second half.
CJ Greyling and Chad Plato scored second-half tries for Namibia to keep the margin to 25.
Italy conceded an early try to go behind and wasted three scoring chances but still managed to turn a glut of possession and territory into a 21-7 halftime lead against Namibia in the Pool B game at Osaka.
Scrumhalf Damian Stevens dived over in the 6th minute for a surprising lead after Italy lost a lineout throw and failed to cover the inside runners when Namibia spread the ball wide to the right wing. Cliven Loubser converted to make it 7-0.
The Italian forwards were dominating at the set piece and were awarded a penalty try in the 11th minute to level the score.
Italy captain Sergio Parisse, playing in his fifth Rugby World Cup, had chances to score but was unable to touch down. He knocked the ball forward in a tackle at close range, he dived over from the base of a scrum but was called back because a penalty had already been awarded, and then he crashed into referee Nic Berry from the resulting scrum and the movement was stopped.
Italy fullback Jayden Hayward was unable to gather a low pass from Tommaso Allan with the tryline open. Allan made amends in the 26th when he burst onto a pass and crashed off the upright to score under the posts after a swerving, surging run from center Luca Morisi.
Scrumhalf Tito Tebaldi scored just before halftime, darting down the left flank and diving over after receiving an improbable no-look pass from lock Federico Ruzza.
The heavy tackles and bullocking runs in the Australia-Fiji game reverberated across the Pacific. Fiji got away to a flyer and led by as many as nine points against the two-time World Cup champions before Australia rallied to win by six tries to two.
There are some strong connections between the teams, with three Fiji-born players in the Australian XV, and an Australian-born flyhalf and head coach working with Fiji.
Samu Kerevi was born in Fiji but became a professional player in Australia and a star for the Wallabies and the Queensland Reds. His family back in Fiji was torn between wanting Kerevi to do well in Saturday’s game, but wanting Fiji to produce a big upset win.
“I got a video from home. I was really worried the house was going to come down, the walls were banging, my grandmother (was) hitting the walls,” Kerevi told reporters. “It really put into perspective what a game of rugby can do for a small nation like Fiji.
“It was an emotional week, the first time playing my home nation (and) knowing who was at home and who was watching. I am just really proud of where I am from, really proud of my background and my culture.”
Kerevi is now preparing for next Sunday’s Pool D game against Six Nations champion Wales. Fiji has to regroup quickly for a game against Uruguay on Wednesday.
Day 3 of the Rugby World Cup has a Six Nations flavor, with top-ranked Ireland playing Scotland in Yokohama and Italy and England opening their campaigns before and after that game.
Italy kicks off the action Sunday in a Pool B game at Osaka against Namibia, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament at No. 23. Italy captain Sergio Parisse is set to start in his fifth World Cup, joining former teammate Mauro Bergamasco and Samoa’s Brian Lima in a select group to have achieved that.
Defending champion New Zealand beat South Africa 23-13 in a blockbuster to open Pool B on Saturday night.
Ireland and Scotland are in Pool A with host Japan, which beat Russia in the tournament’s opening match, and Samoa.
The England-Tonga Pool C game will conclude play on a busy opening weekend in the first Rugby World Cup staged in Asia.